November 2017 Moms

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

This is a pretty recent change (Aug '16), so (since I work in HR), I wanted to be sure all mamas are aware of their rights during their pregnancy if in the workforce.  It's common sense, but some employers (like mine) are really strict with policy and you may have to use this Act as leverage to work comfortably through your pregnancy.  I'm basically using it to bypass my unit's policy of only 2 teleworking days a month (for example, when I'm having extreme nausea and can work, but can do so much more comfortably from home) and only two instances of making up hours a month (working outside of your normal schedule to make up for say, a doctor appointment).  Because these policies have been waived for others with medical conditions, it is a "reasonable accommodation."

TL;DR: You are allowed to ask for reasonable accommodations.  If they've made the accommodation for others with disabilities or medical issues, it's reasonable.  You do NOT have to accept any accommodation that you did not request.


NOTICE FOR EMPLOYERS TO USE IN ORDER TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH HB 16-1438

(PREGNANCY ACCOMMODATIONS):

PREGNANT WORKERS FAIRNESS ACT C.R.S. § 24-34-402.3

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act makes it a discriminatory or unfair employment practice if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee who is pregnant, physically recovering from childbirth, or a related condition.

Requirements:

Under the Act, if an applicant or employee who is pregnant or has a condition related to pregnancy or childbirth requests an accommodation, an employer must engage in the interactive process with the applicant or employee and provide a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of the applicant or employee’s job unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business.

The Act identifies reasonable accommodations as including, but not limited to:

• provision of more frequent or longer break periods;
• more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks;
• acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;
• limitations on lifting;
• temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if available, with return to the current position after pregnancy;
• job restructuring;
• light duty, if available;
• assistance with manual labor; or modified work schedule.

The Act prohibits requiring an applicant or employee to accept an accommodation that the applicant or employee has not requested or an accommodation that is unnecessary for the applicant or the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Scope of accommodations required:

An accommodation may not be deemed reasonable if the employer has to hire new employees that the employer would not have otherwise hired, discharge an employee, transfer another employee with more seniority, promote another employee who is not qualified to perform the new job, create a new position for the employee, or provide the employee paid leave beyond what is provided to similarly situated employees.

Under the Act, a reasonable accommodation must not pose an “undue hardship” on the employer. Undue hardship refers to an action requiring significant difficulty or expense to the employer. The following factors are considered in determining whether there is undue hardship to the employer:

• the nature and cost of accommodation;
• the overall financial resources of the employer;
• the overall size of the employer’s business;
• the accommodation’s effect on expenses and resources or its effect upon the operations of the employer;

If the employer has provided a similar accommodation to other classes of employees, the Act provides that there is a rebuttable presumption that the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship.

Adverse action prohibited:

The Act prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation and from denying employment opportunities to an applicant or employee based on the need to make a reasonable accommodation.

Notice:

This written notice must be posted in a conspicuous area of the workplace. Employers must also provide written notice to new employees at the start of employment and to current employees within 120 days of the Act’s August 10, 2016 effective date.

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Re: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • @sweetmelissa4 thank you! This is very important information.  I am planning to ask my boss for some work from home days since they are relocating offices for a short period of time to a place that will be very uncomfortable for me as I progress in pregnancy. 



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    adiratSweetMelissa4
  • @adirat I second that suggestion!



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    adirat
  • Thanks for sharing @SweetMelissa4!
    It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most...not where you live, or what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes... There's no dollar sign on a piece of mind, this I've come to know! *ZBB*


    Me: 34 DH 32.5     Married 7/16
    TTC  9/2016     BFP 12/9/16    EDD 7/21/17    MC 1/8/16 at 8 weeks
    TTC  2/2017  BFP 3/6/17   EDD 11/20/17

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  • slavenslaven member
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    Good to know that it applies for applicants too. I was looking at some bank jobs for when we move but they all require standing for extended periods of time. I'm sure a stool/chair to sit on isn't too outrageous of a request. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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    kaitlinliz
  • This is great information! Thanks for posting it!

    It just makes me appreciate where I am so much more! Friday one of the owners was painting something for their new house there and the smell was making me sick and giving me a bad headache. His wife was so good about getting me situated so I could work upstairs away from the smell. They have me set up to work from home if I need to, and don't care how many breaks any of us take as long as we get our numbers in. They're all about mental and physical health and well being, so if we need to get up and walk around, that's good with them!
    jess0211SweetMelissa4NYTino24
  • @slaven  Just remember that it's much harder to prove discrimination in the hiring process than it is once you're already employed.  If it's obvious that you're pregnant, obviously you can't do anything about it, but I still might wait to get hired and then make the accommodation request.  When they ask the question in the interview/application "can you perform the duties of the job," though, that should include a "with or without a reasonable accommodation" clause as well.  They should not be asking the specific accommodation you need in the interview or application, as that's between you and HR.  A stool is a very reasonable accommodation. My 2 cents.

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  • slavenslaven member
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    @sweetmelissa4 That's what I was thinking about. I'll be around 16 weeks when we move but probably more like 20 before the job hunt gets serious (unless I get phone interviews and such before we move) so I'll probably be showing a bit but as this is my first, probably not too much. A strategically styled blouse will hopefully make me just look a bit chubby haha. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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    petrichorbluSweetMelissa4
  • adiratadirat member
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    Bump

    (since we have new members joining)



    DH & I: Both 28
    TTC #1 June 2016
    IF Dx: Premature ovarian insufficiency and luteal phase defect associated with genetic condition
    BFP 2/23/17. Said goodbye to our baby girl at 14 weeks.
    Pursuing IVF+PGD




    slaven
  • edited March 21
    I wish I had access to this during my first pregnancy. I had just been hired a little over a month before they started cutting my hours drastically. My boss even referenced my doctor's appointments when talking about how I was being given less hours than anyone else in my department. Then, after a grand total of two months, they laid me off before anyone else even though I was not their most recent hire. However, since I don't have any concrete proof that my pregnancy caused all of this, I didn't even attempt legal action.

    Don't do like me and be too shy and insecure to confront them about it.
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  • I'm super worried about my job! I just started working for USPS about 2 months ago. We have to deliver heavy packages and the mail trucks have no a/c (in Florida). I won't even be there a year yet and I'll end upon maternity leave during the busiest time of the year.
    NYTino24
  • @amber0529 One of the reasons the act came to be was because of how UPS was treating their pregnant workers. They would allow light duty for other conditions but not for pregnancy in certain cases. You can absolutely request light duty accommodation with a weight restriction. If you won't have been there for a year, you won't qualify for FMLA unless you have previous federal employment, so your job won't necessarily be protected once you take leave. But, as long as you are there, they have to make reasonable accommodations for you. 

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  • jess0211jess0211 member
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    edited March 28
    @SweetMelissa4 for FMLA do you know if you have worked at the same organization but have been promoted within the last year  (so job title change) do you still qualify? Both DH and I have been at same Institution for 10+ years but in the last year he was promoted to a new job within the organization and I may have an opportunity to do that as well. However, if it starts the 1 year clock again than I would have to wait on that. I will call HR tomorrow but you seem super knowledgable so thought you may have insight?

    Eta I think I found the answer but still calling HR tomorrow.  Since DH and I work for the same Institution I have lots of questions!



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  • slavenslaven member
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    @jess0211 It's just for the same organization, not position. But you do have to work a certain amount of hours within 12 months as well so someone (like me) who only works a few days a week may not be covered. We're moving anyway so there's no way I'll be covered if I get a new job. Of course NY (where we're moving) passed a maternity leave policy that doesn't make you work at one place for a year but it doesn't take effect until January 2018. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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  • @kissthesky32 thank you!

    @slaven I think all states should pass that law! It's not fair as it may prevent someone from taking a great job.  



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  • edited March 28
    @slaven happy to hear that! We don't live in NY right now but that's where we plan to settle down and buy a house in a few years. It's also where I'm from!
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  • slavenslaven member
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    @jess0211 Honestly. I found a great job in community development which is what I went to college for and had my internship in but I can't foresee applying for such a great job and then being there for 5 months and then requesting 12 weeks off (even unpaid). I mean for our situation it's okay in the end. At DH's new duty station he'll probably be deploying, potentially before LO is born and if that happens I'll move in with my ILs in MA, leaving any job I may have anyway. Right now I'm just looking for a secretary type thing where I don't care when I quit. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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    jess0211
  • @slaven of topic, but I'm in mass too! 
  • slavenslaven member
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    @cmessamore I'm from NH but went to college in MA and that's where my ILs live. We actually had Fort Drum as our top pick for duty stations because it was the closest we could get to New England. Unfortunately Drum also has a high deployment rate. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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    cmessamore
  • Eek for the deployment rate! I live in a small town on the NH border. My kiddos go to school in Ma and my step kids go to school in NH, so I'm constantly between the two states! 
    NYTino24
  • @SweetMelissa4 USPS treats most of their employees like crap, unfortunately. There's a girl at my station right now that had broken her ankle and then got an infection because they continued to work her crazy hours even though her doctor said no more than 8 hour days. We work 6 days a week usually 10 hour days.

    I need this job because it's great money but I don't know if it's going to work out.
    NYTino24
  • @amber0529 That is illegal (to go against doc's orders for the most part), just fyi. If they've EVER made the accommodation for other conditions, they should for all. Government agencies, in particular, are usually very strict and follow the letter of things like ADA, FML, PWFA, etc.  You could start with HR and see what they say.  You could also always try talking to a labor lawyer to see what they think.  Many will do brief consults at no charge to see if they think it's worth pursuing.


    For everyone else, sorry I was late to the game.  Yes it is the employer, not the position, and does not always have to be consecutive.  For example, I worked for a state university several years ago.  I worked at a few other non-state employers in between.  I'm now working at a state agency, and only have been since November.  But, because I have about 4 years of state service, total (the "State" being 1 employer), I actually still qualify for FMLA.

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  • @slaven I just read in depth about the NY paid leave laws and it's way better than I thought! Love that it covers both men and women so both can spend time with their families and women aren't targeted as anti-career. It's great, too, that you don't have to have worked there a year. So nice that a mom could take 12 weeks, and then a dad, so baby wouldn't have to go to daycare until it can get its own vaccinations!

    It's a great step in the right direction even though it isn't perfect. Now if the rest of the country could get on board.
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  • slavenslaven member
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    @DuchessOfCambridge I know it sounds great. Maybe for our second child if we're still in NY, but I think by then DH will be promoted and there won't be a need for me to work. We'll be fine now with me as a SAHM and DH gets promoted 6 months after LO is born but it'll be a bare few months just so that we can save money still. We both have student loans and such. 

    Me: 24 DH: 28, Married 1/1/2015
    TTC July 2016-February 2017
    BFP 2/27/17, EDD 11/10/17
    Military family with two fur babies

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    DuchessOfCambridge
  • adiratadirat member
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    Bumping back to page one for all our new members.





    DH & I: Both 28
    TTC #1 June 2016
    IF Dx: Premature ovarian insufficiency and luteal phase defect associated with genetic condition
    BFP 2/23/17. Said goodbye to our baby girl at 14 weeks.
    Pursuing IVF+PGD




    kissthesky32DuchessOfCambridgejess0211
  • jess0211jess0211 member
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    I am posting this here because it's related to this topic. I talked to my HR person today about FMLA etc. DH and I work for the same institution but different departments/schools within the institution. My HR rep tried telling me we only get 12 weeks of FMLA combined, instead of 12 weeks each which is what each employee is entitled to. This seems absurd to me and makes no sense. I asked her to confirm with main HR and in the meantime I looked up the policy (see below) and my interpretation is that we are both entitled to 12 weeks (the max) each calendar year. Am I crazy? @sweetmelissa0707 any thoughts?




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  • @jess0211 It sounds like your HR girl needs to read the policy. That sounds pretty clear that you both get 12 weeks.
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    jess0211adiratNYTino24
  • jess0211jess0211 member
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    @kissthesky32 That's what I but I thought perhaps I was losing my mind lol



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    adiratkissthesky32
  • @jess0211 I totally agree with @kissthesky32. That could not be more clear. It also irritates me that it would be any different--why would they punish you just because you both work there? 
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  • jess0211jess0211 member
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    @emucoleman you know, we are actually not allowed some of the same life insurance benefits just bc we both work there so I guess it wouldn't surprise me.  That said,  it seems ridiculous and the policy seems clear to me.  I guess I'll see what the main HR office has to say.  



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    NYTino24
  • @jess0211 another one for that is crystal clear. Literally says one spouse's leave does not affect the other's. Also, thanks for reminding me that maybe DH could take some time off too after my leave is up. 
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    jess0211
  • Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but just something I've been thinking about. If baby comes very early and needs to be in the NICU for a while, does maternity leave start then? Is there any rule stating you can take extra? Just seems to me that parents who have babies in NICU for the first month or even two weeks get some of that special bonding time stolen.
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  • RiverSong15RiverSong15 member
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    edited April 21
    @DuchessofCambridge According to FMLA alone, no, you don't get extra FMLA in special circumstances. Your employer may work with you to give you a longer leave, but they don't have to. I've heard of a lot of women going back to work after a week or two of giving birth because they wanted to save FMLA time for when the baby comes home. You can check state regulations though - different states have different laws around maternity leave (mine, for example, says that federal FMLA can't start until after STD benefits end, which would cover early bedrest scenarios or extend a normal birth's leave to 18 weeks). In any case, I agree our leave laws are ridiculous for all moms, but particularly NICU moms. They are exactly the ones who need more support, not less.
    adiratSweetMelissa4DuchessOfCambridge
  • Yeah, and my boss is being a huge dick and making me file FML paperwork now.  Meaning any appointment or leave related to my condition I will now have to report as FML.  So, that steals time away from me after the birth.  Luckily, and mostly because of the dick-of-a-boss, I do not plan on returning after birth, so he can do whatever he wants and it just means they'll have me as a resource for that much shorter.  STD doesn't cover FML bonding, so I wouldn't get paid during that time anyways.  Unfortunately, there is nothing in my state that protects me here, though I do get 13 weeks instead of 12.  Par---ty.....

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    adiratDuchessOfCambridge
  • @SweetMelissa4 is that legal?? Can they really mandate when your leave starts? I'm so happy you're not returning there after the baby.

    @RiverSong15 that's really heartbreaking. Those poor mothers/parents. It's incredibly pathetic how we treat mothers and families in this country.
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  • @DuchessOfCambridge as far as I know it is.  If it's related to my "serious medical condition" they can require I claim it as FML "to protect me."  He wants me to go in and basically back-date what I've taken already, too, which is not going to happen.

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